Matchstick Pasta Recipe

A great pasta dish using just six ingredients. Whole grain linguine matchsticks and barely cooked red kale are tossed with golden pistachio dressing. Pomegranate seeds provide ruby-colored accents and little pops of sweetness.

Matchstick Pasta

I have an island in the middle of my kitchen, and unfortunately it isn't the kind with sand and surf. The island is a stopover point for groceries that haven't quite completed their journey to the appropriate drawer or cupboard. They like it here, in fact they tend to hang out for days on end. I mean what's not to like? It's a social place - the pecans mingle with pistachios, and the pasta plays with pumpkins, pomegranates and popcorn kernels. The light is good. A few of the residents have been over-staying their welcome and ended up in this island-inspired pasta. Whole grain linguine matchsticks now reside with barely cooked red kale, and a vibrant golden dressing made from a quick puree of toasted pistachios, olive oil, salt and garlic. The pomegranate provided ruby-colored accents and little pops of sweetness, playing nicely off the salt-tinged, garlic notes of the pistachio dressing.


I knew I wanted to make a pasta dish of some sort, and the pasta I had on hand was an organic sprouted whole grain linguine. As a side note, I'm a fan of the taste, texture, and nutritional profile of Food For Life Baking Company's Ezekial 4:9 cereals, and was curious about their pasta(s). Whole grain pasta needs just the right thing to go along with it, and I had a nice, big bunch of beautifully colored red kale on hand. It had big, voluminous leaves that maintained a bit of structure after a quick dunk in boiling water. This worked well - breaking up the flat pasta nicely.


You can certainly use another type of kale if you like, but try to choose a fresh, lively bunch with hearty, substantial leaves.

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Matchstick Pasta Recipe

Save a couple large kale leaves to garnish your serving platter.

8 ounces whole grain linguine or spaghetti
2/3 cup pistachios, toasted
1 medium clove garlic, smashed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 pomegranate, just the seeds*

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, break the pasta into 1 1/2-inch segments and make the pistachio sauce by pureeing 1/3 cup of the pistachios, garlic, salt and olive oil with a hand blender or food processor. Set aside.

Once the water is boiling, salt it generously and cook the pasta per package instructions - be careful not to overcook. At the very last second, add the kale to the pot of boiling water, and IMMEDIATELY drain the pot. You don't want to overcook the kale to the point that it is listless. Run cold water over the pasta and kale, using your hand to work the cold water through the kale and pasta. Toss gently with a spoonful of the pistachio sauce and now spin the pasta and kale dry in a salad spinner to toss off any remaining water.

Just before serving, toss the pasta with a big spoonful of the pistachio sauce and 1/2 of the pomegranate seeds, taste and add a bit of salt if needed. Turn the pasta out onto a platter lined with a couple kale leaves (optional), and sprinkle the remaining pomegranate seeds and pistachios on top. Finish with another drizzle of the pistachio sauce if you like.

Serves 4.

*An easy way to de-seed pomegranates is to break them open into a big bowl of water. A lot of the membrane floats to the top.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Greats blog, nice posting.. and.... unique, and... salam kenal from JalanSempit


I have to admit I'm a recipe remodeler. I regularly find myself with a fully-charged appetite and a half-stocked pantry. Soooooo, this recipe sounded so good I went for it. With a half a bunch of rainbow chard in one hand & a bottle of Newman's Own olive oil in the other and completely without pistachio or pomegranate. But it Worked! and it was good. Thanks for the inspiration!


Oh I love you site! Your recipes, your photos, very inspiring! But you changed your design of the text/titles... I liked the previous better ;-) Keep up the good work. Great!


ah, those colors are just so appealing. and i'm always looking for something new to put pomegranate seeds in- think i've found my next subject.


You're hot!


That is an unusual combination, but, it does look so pretty indeed...wouldn't think twice about trying it...thanks.


What an interesting combination. I have not been brave enough to try a pommegranate yet - I'll have to give it a try though!


Ah, looks like true magic on a plate. Thanks for sharing! Blessings.


Heidi, you've been tagged! Checking out the rules on my blog :) I think we would all love to hear some random things about you!

Elina (Healthy and Sane)

gosh, that's pretty innovative for a pasta recipe Heidi! I'll use something else instead of kale..never developed a taste for it..but everything else sounds lovely, including your island!:)


Being an Italian foodie, I just feel I have to post a comment! Spaghetti (or any other kind of 'long pasta') aren't supposed to be broken! Breaking spaghetti sounds horrifying to almost any Italian...although I know there are moms in Italy who cut spaghetti otherwise their children wouldn't have them, and know some people who break them so they can fit into the pan, which is absolutely unnecessary! Actually, there might be some Neapolitan pasta recipe which calls for broken spaghetti but I should do some research on that. Anyway, I really like this recipe, it sounds delicious...and I'm a big fan of whole grain pasta! ;) Ciao


p.s. Nice compliment of colors using the brown-patterned plate. You certainly have some pretty dishes in your kitchen.

Erin @ Sprouted in the Kitchen

Heidi, I have a peninsula (also not sand-covered) that works the same way for grocery stopovers. I actually think that the results--your impromptu pasta--almost warrants your island as a permanent grocery hangout! Why put away the groceries when having them out inspires you! I have yet to find some of ingredients that you find so easily in your corner of the country--I'm happy to find kale easily here, but red kale? I think not. I do love kale, though, almost as much as I love chard. My first exploration into chard was courtesy of you and a paprika-bean soup recipe, which my husband and I happily ate. It is rare that a recipe makes it into any kind of a permanent post in my kitchen, but that did. Thank you. I'd also be hard-pressed to find whole wheat pasta beyond the four shapes I keep buying: spaghetti, penne, and fusili, and a macaroni. Thank you for your ingredient recommendations so I can expand on that.

Erin @ Sprouted in the Kitchen

I appreciate the unique qualities of this recipe. It's fun to use an ingredient beyond its 'normal' roll and change it up a bit - like you've done with the pasta and pistachios. Thank you for your continued creativity and inspiration!

Ellie from Kitchen Caravan

heidi I love your recipies and consider myself a devoted fan but breaking spaghetti, rinsing spaghetti and spin drying spaghetti is all a bit upsetting.


This looks great - your food is always so beautiful!


This looks like a dish that may be even better cold/room temperature as a side dish. fabulous.

We Are Never Full

Sounds and looks great. I'm not a big Kale fan but should be very good with red cabbage. Keep up the good work

Rick Shoebottom

I was a bit worried that you rinsed the spaghetti in cold water. Usually cooked pasta should not be washed because you lose the starch and the sauce wouldn't stick to them. Putting them back in the hot pot and mixing in the sauce would cover them nicely and keep them hot. But reading around, it does say for salads, you want to stop them cooking and not clump together. Was that the intention in this recipe?


Don't whittle toward yourself. Don't poop where you eat. Don't cut the spaghetti. I don't have many rules to live by, but these ones are important. I think there's a chinese and/or italian thing about the length of noodles and longevity of life, or luck. Other than that, the recipe does read as delicious!


excuse the french.... but I f**king love this web site !!!!


I have this theory flat surfaces should be programmed to tilt once a day after giving fair warning that everything will land on the floor if not put away immediately. No matter how often I clear the counter, it fills up again. A losing battle, I'm afraid.


Such a colorful dish! I never thought about using pistachio in a dressing. What a great idea!

Kitchen M

Amazing! I have been a voyeur on your site for a while now...always with the intention of making the dishes. Tonight was the perfect storm. The week's organic produce brought kale, swiss chard and a pomegranate. I made this pasta dish using the swiss chard. It was FANTASTIC! Thank you for your scrumptious recipes and gorgeous photos. I am hooked!


The photo is stunning. Heidi, I admire your creativity for improvising colorful and healthy meals. In my grandma's house, she would always break the spaghetti in small pieces so that it was easier for her little grandchildren to eat. The grown-ups don't like this habit much, but your pic would make anybody change his/her mind. In Mexico we like pomegranate seeds as an ornament - have you ever eaten chiles en nogada? It's our national dish, always cooked around our Day of Independence. If I ever create a vegetarian version, I'll let you know! Here is a pic... Thanks for your time and for sharing your creativity :-)


Heidi: You have such a lovely way with words and it's matched by your equally lovely way with food and photography. Thank you for providing such a soul-satisfying connection to my hometown via our shared passion for food.

Stephane in AK

Heidi, I'm 25 and I'm a spaghetti-cutter. Now I don't need to hide my bowl in shame anymore... it's part of the recipe! I feel so free. Thanks for your open cookbook and creativity.


You're funny. Island-inspired in my kitchen would be kitchen floor near the fridge or entryway inspired. Onions mingle with olive oil and quinoa. xo

RookieMom Heather

Lovely and festive!


This pasta is gorgeous. Perfect for the holidays.

Fit Bottomed Girls

GORGEOUS photo. i will try this for sure. And for people who don't like kale, just a thought to try lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale if you never have before. Much nicer than regular green or red!

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

Another easy way to de-seed pomegranates found here: and thank you for the magnificent recipes. I've recently discovered your blog and it hasbecome one of my favorites.


Nennepus, I bet spinach would work, or even Swiss chard.


Kale... not at favourite... Any suggestions for what I can use instead? Everything else sounds divine!


mmm... your photos make the dish look especially good! I like the idea of adding pomegranates to it too!

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

What a beautiful photo! I bet the pistachio sauce could easily be used in a lot of different ways. mmm!


The pistachio dressing sounds fantastic!




Love the party on the island image! I wouldn't have thought to put pomegranate in pasta, but it sounds delicious. Just the thing for a crisp fall day.


good grief. I have no idea how it will taste but this is a thing of beauty. the colors play off of one another so wonderfully. I may make it just to look at it.


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